The Geelong Bollard Trail Walk


The Geelong Bollard Trail Walk is a walking trail that features bollard sculptures representing scenes and people from Geelong’s history. The trail was created in response to community demand, and the bollards were constructed over a period of five years. Here at that’s MY spot, we will provide an enlightening look at Geelong’s past.

Geelong Bollards History

By walking and following the Bollard Trail, you will meet some of the unique characters who played a part in Geelong’s history. From the original Indigenous inhabitants to more contemporary characters.

Artist Jan Mitchell built the Geelong Bollard Trail in the late 1990s to save a local pier that had been destroyed.

The bollards along the Geelong Bollard Trail have been a major drawcard for Geelong ever since they were installed along the Waterfront. The two-mile boardwalk trail, from Limeburner’s Point to Rippleside Park, and along Corio Bay, is lined with more than 100 vibrant bollard figurines. They all represent distinct eras and individuals who have contributed to the development of Geelong into the city it is today. Some also depict a time before white settlers arrived

The Geelong Baywalk Bollard Trail consists of 103 bollards and 48 distinct locations.

It took 5 years to complete the bollard project in 1999.

In 2000 Jan Mitchell received an Order Of Australia Medal for her contribution to Geelong’s waterfront transformation.

The Geelong Bollard Trail has been one of the most popular things to see in Geelong over the last 20 years! So here’s our walk through with your that’s MY spot tour guide!

How the Geelong Bollards Were Made

Bathing Beauty Bollard on the Geelong Bollard Walk

Each bollard was constructed on the Waterfront in a massive former wool store near Cunningham Pier. The bollards were fashioned out of Australian woods – either Australian red ironbark or turpentine hardwood.

Pieter Roos, a carver and prop maker, first sculpted and shaped the bollards. After that, Jan and John Starr, her assistant, painted them using the trompe l’oeil (three-dimensional illusion) method. Industrial materials were used to create additional ornaments and fixtures.

They designed the fun figures to be interactive and tactile, standing over 2 metres tall. 

It’s a really fun and popular past-time for kids and adults in Geelong to spot the rabbits that lurk around the feet of the bollards. Ten pairs of wild rabbits that farmer Thomas Austin imported through the Port of Geelong are the ancestors of the wild rabbits in Australia. These lurking rabbits symbolise the introduction of rabbits to Australia on Christmas Day in 1859. Unfortunately since then, wild rabbits have become a pest in rural Australia.

The Geelong Baywalk Bollards

The Baywalk Bollards are a popular trail in Geelong, Australia. The trail, located along the Geelong foreshore, explores Geelong’s key characters and their stories.

Bathing Tableau

The Geelong Baywalk Bollards are a series of sculptures located along the Baywalk in Geelong, Australia. The sculptures were commissioned in 2002 by the City of Greater Geelong as part of a public art project.

The bollards depict four swimmers, each representing a different era in the history of swimming in Geelong.

The first bollard depicts Gordon Scholes, who was the Mayor of Geelong when the Western Beach Sea Bathing Company was established in 1872.

The second bollard depicts Nipper Trezise, who was a member of the Australian Olympic swim team in 1956.

The third bollard depicts Jeff Kennett, who was the premier of Victoria from 1992 to 1999.

The fourth and final bollard depicts a young Sir Hubert Opperman, who was an Australian racing cyclist and politician.

The Geelong Baywalk Bollards are not only a tribute to the history of swimming in Geelong, but also to the city itself. The bollards represent four different eras in the city’s history, each with its own unique story to tell.

Western Beach Sea Bathing Co.

The Western Beach Sea Bathing Company was established in 1872, making it one of the oldest swimming clubs in Australia. The ‘swimmers’ depicted on the Geelong Baywalk Bollards are politicians Gordon Scholes, Nipper Trezise, Jeff Kennett, and a young Sir Hubert Opperman. Former Prime Minister John Howard is also created wearing glasses that are tied on with knicker elastic. These bollards provide a unique and interesting glimpse into the history of both the company and Geelong itself.

Early Geelong Football Player Bollard

Early Geelong Footballer Bollard

The well-known Geelong Football Club, famous for its Australian Rules football talent,  is one of the oldest football clubs in the world, having been established on July 18, 1859. This bollard is in the colours of the early Geelong Cats with a black and white striped football jersey.

Geelong is famous for its Australian Rules football culture. The square was originally used as a practice ground, before becoming a war monument and later Transvaal Square. The Geelong Baywalk Bollards are a reminder of this history and culture.


Fireman Bollard

The Fireman Bollard is one of the most popular and well-known bollards in Geelong, Australia. It was created by artist Jan Mitchell in the late 1990s to salvaging part of a dismantled local pier. The bollard is a main attraction for visitors to Geelong, and is inspirational to artists and designers around the world.

Fireman Bollard at Geelong

The Fireman Bollard represents an important era in Geelong’s history and the individual people who have shaped the city. 

A clipper ship carrying wool and tallow was struck by lightning in 1869 and caught on fire. The town’s private firefighters joined forces to put out the fire. From this unified action, they then established a public fire department.

The five firefighters who perished in the Linton bushfires in 1998 are honoured with this bollard.

Here at that’s MY spot, we will take you on a virtual tour to nine different historical sites associated with the Fireman Bollard. These include the Limeburner, Matthew Flinders, the Koorie Family, Robert de Bruce Johnstone, Ian McDonald, an early Geelong Footballer, the Volunteer Rifle Band, James Harrison and the Nuns.

Bathing Beauties Bollard

The Western Beach Sea Bathing Company was established in 1872. The iconic Geelong Baywalk Bollards were erected soon afterwards.

The bathing beauties bollard is a throwback to the days when beauty pageants were held at Eastern Beach.

Even though these beauty pageants now frowned upon, historic records demonstrate how much people enjoyed them at the time. The Bathing Beauties bollards is representative of the era and bathing beauties of the time.

Bathing Beauties bollards on the Geelong Bollard Trail

Nancy Natty Knickers Bollard

Geelong’s engineering history, which began in the nearby Western Foundry in 1869, is symbolized by this lively woman. The velocipedes seen here were produced by the foundry.

In the latter part of the 1800s, it was quite daring for women to wear trousers. The pants or more correctly referred to, the “ breeches” that female cyclists used to ride these bicycles were known as “Natty Knickers.” This bollard is symbolic of those female breech-wearing cyclists.

Barwon Heads Bollards

A troop of marching soldiers is featured on the Barwon Heads bollards, which were constructed prior to the Geelong Bollards. On The Bellarine Peninsula in Barwon Heads, you’ll find them on the main road.

In fact, all they do is stand mutely on the city’s foreshore and do nothing else. Each is able to clearly tell a story to anyone who comes by without saying a word.

From Rippleside Park through Waterfront Geelong to Limeburner’s Point and the Botanic Gardens, more than 100 of these massive painted icons direct visitors along the foreshore walking and /cycling track. They are a fascinating and entertaining history of the city’s past that focuses on some of the individual characters who were involved.

A Koori family, an English explorer named Matthew Flinders, and a Portuguese explorer are among the 104 sculptures that overlook Corio Bay near Limeburner’s Point. You can see bathing beauties from the 1930s at Eastern Beach, as well as Ian McDonald, the city surveyor who designed the iconic sea baths.

Don’t forget your smartphone camera when you go!  Because you’ll wanting to take a whole lot of selfies with these cool bollards on the Geelong Bollard Trail.

Send us your best Geelong Bollard Trail photos to and we’ll even feature some of them on our thatsmyspot Instagram page!

Lifesaver bollards representing politicians on the Geelong Bollard Walk